The Rockets finished the . . .
"It was obviously a disappointing ending to a really good season," Head Coach Tod Kowalczyk said. "We went through a stretch in the first half where we turned the ball over and they gained some momentum. We were up six at the half, but I thought we could have been up 12 or 14. That was big."
Freshman Ryan Rollins topped a balanced attack with 18 points, including 16 in a first half that saw Toledo lead by as many as 11 points. Also scoring in double digits were junior Setric Millner Jr. (13 pts.), senior Spencer Littleson (11 pts.) and senior Marreon Jackson (10 pts.).
Seniors Tyler Burton and Jacob Gilyard topped the Spiders with 18 points apiece. Burton also hauled down a game-high 10 rebounds, while Gilyard grabbed four steals.
"Gilyard changes the game with the way he plays," said Kowalczyk about the national leader with 3.5 spg. "You have to be aware where he's at and can't turn your back. He's everywhere with quickness and has great instincts.
Toledo held a 38-32 halftime lead after shooting 53.8 percent from the field in the opening 20 minutes. Richmond limited the Rockets to a 28.1 FG% in the second stanza, including a 1-of-14 showing behind the three-point arc.
"I thought we had some good looks in the second half but they just weren't falling," Kowalczyk said. "Richmond also lulls you to sleep a little bit with their pace of play. I thought that may have affected our offense a little bit too."
HOW IT HAPPENED
- Toledo surged to a 13-4 lead a little over five minutes into the contest. Spencer Littleson and Ryan Rollins keyed the quick start with six and five points, respectively.
- Littleson's three-pointer gave the Rockets their first double-digit lead, 28-17, with just over seven minutes remaining in the half.
- Jacob Gilyard's triple 1:34 before intermission capped off a 9-0 Spider run that trimmed Toledo's lead to 33-32.
- Mattia Acunzo's three-point play ended the spurt and Rollins' two free throws gave the Rockets a 38-32 lead at the break.
- Richmond cut Toledo's lead to 40-37 just over a minute into the second half, but Marreon Jackson buried a three-point to put the Rockets up 46-37 with 16:51 remaining.
- The Spiders then took their first lead since the game's opening minutes, 49-48, with 11:24 to play thanks to a 10-0 run.
- Ten lead changes ensued over the next five minutes with Toledo taking its last lead, 58-57, on Setric Millner Jr.'s layup with 6:22 left.
- Richmond followed with a 9-0 spurt that included seven free throws to gain some breathing room. Nathan Cayo keyed the game-deciding burst with seven points.
- The closest the Rockets came down the stretch came when JT Shumate's three-point play reduced the Spiders' advantage to 68-62 with two minutes remaining.